This Inclusive Lighting Design Helps Improve The Sensory Development of Autistic Children





From the combined creative minds of Shirin Amini and Farid Hatami comes a masterpiece, “Things”: a game therapy for kids, especially those diagnosed with Autism. At first glance, it’s quite a confounding piece of work, something which has the ability to pique your interest at once. It evokes a “tell me more” feeling within us. But here’s why “Things” truly caught our attention! Though it can be used as a handy bedside lamp or reading light for kids of all ages and helps them to recognize textures and colors, the designers took into consideration the needs of Autistic children, allowing “Things” to have a therapeutic effect on them. Not only that, it can be used by them for ‘sensory development’. It helps to strengthen their tactile and visual senses, in turn solidifying their interpersonal skills and social interactions.

The piece consists of four cubes created from different materials with varying textures. Shadowing the four cubes is a quadrilateral frame with a platform on which the cubes can be placed one by one. As the children play and interact with the cubes, they are introduced to the sensation of different textures and materials, and their sensitivity towards them is reduced or becomes more manageable. They begin to view light and textures not as jarring stimulants, but rather as soothing elements in their environment, allowing their senses to grow attuned to them.  As each cube is placed in the middle of the frame, a colored light is emitted from the frame, in response to the placement of the cube. Each cube is assigned a different color. For example: when the cube made of hard and polished wood is placed on the frame, a pale purple color is emitted from it. Whereas the concrete cube is paired with a pretty orange. The cube of soft textured cloth is represented by blue, and finally, the placement of the soft leather cube with a rough texture is followed by a soothing yellow light. Since bright and bold colors can be overwhelming for anyone with Autism, the designers have avoided using any intense colors. They have instead chosen a selection of mild and neutral colors, which do not trigger any sensitivities.

Simple, therapeutic and soothing, “Things” is the sort of play therapy than can be enjoyed by one and all. Of course, it has added benefits for children with Autism, enhancing their sensory development and helping them win their battle against textures!

Designers: Shirin Amini & Farid Hatimi